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  Department of Rehabilitation Medicine 
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Survey results of pain treatments in adults with cerebral palsy


Hirsh AT, Kratz AL, Engel JM, Jensen MP



Publication Info:

American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 90(3):207-216


OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to identify the types and frequencies of pain treatments used by individuals with cerebral palsy, examine the perceived effectiveness of these treatments, and identify the types of healthcare providers that were accessed for pain-related services.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey design was used. A total of 83 adults (mean [SD] age, 40.3 [13.6] yrs) with cerebral palsy indicated their pain location and intensity during the past 3 mos. Next, they indicated their use of 24 different pain treatments and the effectiveness of each. Finally, participants indicated the frequency of pain-related healthcare visits to specific providers over the past 6 mos.
RESULTS: Of the participants, 63% reported experiencing chronic pain and rated their pain intensity over the past week as 5.1 of 10, on average. The most common pain locations were the lower back, hips, and legs. Physical interventions (e.g., physical therapy, strengthening) were the most common pain treatments reportedly used and were rated as moderately effective. Many other treatments were also used, and participants sought pain-related care from a variety of providers.
CONCLUSIONS: Although participants reportedly accessed pain care from a variety of providers and perceived that several types of treatments were effective, many of the treatments rated as effective were rarely used or provided. Future research using clinical trial methods would further elucidate the specific pain treatments that are most beneficial for adults with cerebral palsy.

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